Dramatic increase in terror threats has Australians worried

Terrorism is a persistent, long-term and global threat with a wide range of potential incidents said experts at a Global Terrorism Risk Insurance Conference last week.

The past three years have seen a dramatic increase in the intensity and spread of terrorist incidents in OECD countries, including Australia, according to new research conducted exclusively for Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation unveiled at the ARPC-OECD Global Terrorism Risk Insurance Conference last week. The ARPC-OECD Global Terrorism Risk Insurance Conference which focussed on new and existing terrorism threats and how to respond to them was held in Canberra on Thursday, 06 October and Friday, 07 October 2016.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which conducted the research, there were more terrorist incidents on Australian soil in 2014-15 than in the 15 preceding years combined.

While Australia’s level of terrorist activity is low by global standards, it is one of the 10 highest among OECD countries. As with other OECD countries, the increasing threat of terrorism has been driven by groups or individuals claiming some sort of connection with the Islamic State (ISIL).

“Although there hasn’t been a repeat of the scale of the September 11 attacks in the United States, the sheer volume of attacks in the past three years suggest terrorism is a now a much greater threat to political stability in OECD countries,” says Murray Ackman, IEP Research Fellow. “Countries in the OECD, which includes Europe and many developed countries, face a three-pronged threat: lone actors with a variety of motivations and backgrounds; home grown groups which are increasingly being inspired by Islamic State (ISIL) and attacks planned, directed and co-ordinated by ISIL itself.”

A new ANUpoll on national security has found 45 per cent of Australians are either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about either themselves or a family member being the victim of a terrorist attack and that the respondents believe the government could do more to prevent a terrorist attack in Australia. “A substantial number of Australians are worried about the prospect of experiencing terror attacks, and that number has increased in recent years,” Dr Jill Sheppard from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods. The latest ANUpoll is a national random telephone survey of 1,200 people, interviewed between late June and early July 2016..

“Those who are most concerned about terror attacks are also the most likely to support strict border protection policies and government retention of telecommunications data. We see that as levels of education increases, fears of terrorism and support for counter-terrorism policies both decrease.”